When I was given the opportunity to write for Too Much Awesome, I quickly realized I didn’t have an infinite selection of board games to play on hand. So I was ecstatic to learn of a really cool website, BoardGameExchange.com – a service you can subscribe to and receive a certain number of board games shipped to you bi-monthly. You sign up, decide how many games you’d like to receive every other month- browse through their extensive selection of every kind of board game you could imagine – and fill up your rental “queue”. I was so excited to receive my board games!
One thing about BGE games is they all arrive in one USPS box, with each game in individual plastic bags (so smart!). As I opened up the bag for Oh Gnome You Don’t… I could tell just by looking at the instructions that this is a game for players that enjoy fantasy themes, though I suppose the name dropped a big hint!
The objective of this game is pretty simple- you and your opponents are “Gnomes” traveling down a forest trail – each with the hope of becoming the wealthiest of the bunch. Tricks, traps and brawls all come into the equation as the game progresses- whoever reaches the end of the trail with the most gems, wins.
There is a limited number of ways one can acquire the gems. Short of a few opportunities like ‘mining’, or stealing from opponents- players mostly rely on selling the items they’ve collected and tabled (this is key) at the businesses throughout the path.
Strategy WILL make or break you
I’ll admit, at first I assumed this game would be a lamer version of Life but I was pleasantly surprised by it’s subtle complexity. At the end of each turn (“Roll,Move, Play, Draw” is a phrase the instructions urge you to chant before starting the game) you receive a “draw” card which will either have an item you can sell, or an action that can hurt your opponents. You need to be careful about what cards you play, or “table” because they are visible to everybody and can actually screw you over.For example, if you table cards that earn you the most gems for a business you are far away from- you can be certain one of your opponents will try to take it from you before you can cash in. If you’re really unlucky, like me, you’ll be forced to move ahead on the board away from the business you were looking forward to. As I said, there are only so many ways to collect gems- so missing out on an opportunity to sell items can break you.
Assuming you are burned early enough, you will learn quickly what to prioritize based on where you are located on the trail. Don’t be like me and forget about the “Oh Gnome You Don’t Card” – which can halt any and all attacks brought on to you by your opponents.
This game is extremely simple but so entertaining. If you’re playing with 2 people, it shouldn’t take longer than a half hour to complete the game. When you’ve got 4 (or more), it will take at least an hour and a half. It’s very fun to see your friends react to your lack of action should you choose not to play a card at the end of a turn. They get suspicious and worried and wonder what havoc you intend to wreak on them. Classic fun.
Another aspect of this game I truly enjoyed was the ironic humor. The game crippling disadvantages are phrased in such a light and ‘positive’ way (usually with cute imagery)- that you can’t help but laugh even when you are being screwed over. “Friend Otter”, who will happily take any player back 4 spaces on the board as a ‘fun activity’… see? No hard feelings!
All in all I highly recommend this game. I could tell it was going to be light hearted, but I didn’t expect it would require some actual thought. Between the artwork (beautiful board!), the strategy and the overall premise- it’s definitely worth getting some friends together for, I know we enjoyed it.
As an aside, a quick internet search showed me that there has been at least one occasion where people have played a “life size” version of this at a game convention… I am intrigued…and maybe a little scared. If I’m being honest.
1-4 Too Much Awful
5-7.5- Not So Awesome
7.6-8.5 Almost Awesome
8.6-9.4 – Awesome!
9.5-10- Too Much Awesome!
This game was so much fun, I had to play it more than once with different people. The artwork is beautiful, the writing is witty - and the overall concept inspires competition and is easy to get into. Hard to find much 'wrong' with it- just a good solid game worth your time!!